The term "Maltese" comes from domestic cat terminology for blue fur, and refers to the slate grey coloration. Many cats with such colouration are present in Malta, which may have given rise to the use of the adjective in this context.
In support of the blue tiger theory, Maltese-colored cats certainly do exist. The most common are a domestic cat breed, the Russian Blue, and a variety of the British Shorthair, the British Blue, but blue bobcats and lynxes have also been recorded, and there are genetic mutations and combinations that result in bluish hue, or at least in the impression of a blue-gray animal. Shuker suggested that blue tigers possessed two different pairs of recessive alleles – the non-agouti (s/s), and the dilute (d/d) which combine to produce a solid blue-gray colour as found in domestic cats such as the British Blue and Russian Blue, but would not produce the striped blue tigers reported.
The non-agouti mutation would produce animals similar to black panthers which have only a "ghost" pattern, all hair being black but the hairs of their rosettes retaining a different texture and thus, "black-on-black" rosettes are visible under appropriate lighting. Combined with all-dilute alleles, the color would be grey, but it would still result in an unstriped or ghost-striped tiger.